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Last year, police in Utah seized over $2.5 million in cash and property using civil asset forfeiture. This is a sharp increase on the $1.4 million seized in 2016, fueling concerns that property may be taken from innocent people.

Civil asset forfeiture is a system which allows law enforcement to seize property suspected of being connected to a crime. Before the property can be seized permanently, law enforcement in Utah is required to show clear, convincing evidence that it was linked to a crime. However, this requirement falls below the standard followed in criminal cases: that it must be proved “beyond reasonable doubt.” No criminal charges are needed for police to take property.
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Michael Boatwright of Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been arrested as the second suspect in the June 18 shooting death of Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, better known as rapper XXXTentacion.

Boatwright, 22, was already in Broward County Jail following his arrest on July 5 on unrelated charges of cocaine possession with intent to sell and misdemeanor marijuana possession. At the time of his arrest, Boatwright was on probation until April 2019 for battery and drug charges from November 2013. He is now charged with first-degree murder in addition to violation of probation for the July 5 charges. The press did not name an attorney for him.

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Leandro Mlodziejewski was arrested on July 10 for allegedly raping a teenage girl in a Publix restroom.

Mlodziejewski, 28, is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a minor and two counts of sexual battery against a minor. He is being held in the Broward County Main Jail on $200,000 bond. If he posts bail, he will be required to wear an ankle monitor and surrender his passport, as he is a U.S. citizen who was born in Argentina and is deemed a flight risk. Attorney information was not available.

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Police officers in Rohnert Park, Sonoma County, California have seized more than $2.4 million in cash over the past three years. This haul from civil asset forfeiture seizures is far greater than that of any other agency in the county.

In 2016, officers brought in $1.4 million, which was 25 times what the Santa Rosa police department seized. For comparison, Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County and as a police force two-and-a-half times larger than Rohnert Park.

Many of the property seizures occurred in a rural area more than 40 miles north of Rohnert Park. This area, a remote stretch along Highway 101 far outside of Rohnert Park city limits, was targeted by police in operations to find illegal drugs. Activities in this area were led by Brendon Jacy Tatum.
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A judge has ordered that Miami-Dade Police Department return $19,934 in cash seized from LizMixell Batista. It was taken from her when police pulled over her husband’s car in the West Little River neighborhood in Miami.

On May 25, Ras Cates cut off a police patrol car, prompting police to pull him over. On examining his vehicle, officers found three rifles and three handguns as well as liquids suspected to be codeine and marijuana oil. Ras’ wife, LizMixell, was in the passenger seat. An officer found the $19,934 in her purse. They seized the cash, weapons, and liquids.
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